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How Much It Costs to Start Powder Coating - A Guide

Whether you are a manufacturer, coatings job shop, or entrepreneur considering a new business as a powder coater a common question that is asked is how much will it cost to start powder coating. In this article, we will cover what is typically required to start powder coating, how much it will cost to start powder coating, and critical things to consider when thinking about getting into powder coating.  We will be considering powder coating as hand applied and will not cover automated or large conveyor powder coating lines in this article.  We also will be considering that the equipment that is being considered is for frequent and/or industrial use. Finally, we are considering equipment that is new rather than used for this article.

Cost number 1 to start Powder Coating – A Powder Coating Booth

A powder coating booth properly filters out powder as you are powder coating keeping you code compliant and safe while powder coating.  Powder Coating Booths will vary in price depending on the size of powder coating booth and type of powder coating booth you end up selecting.  The two primary forms of powder coating booths are recovery and non recovery powder coating booths.  Non recovery powder booths are the more economical powder booths. A non recovery powder coating booth will typically cost between $ $9,000 and up depending on the size of the powder booth $8,500 is about what a 8 x 10 powder coating booth costs.

Cost Number 2 to Start Powder Coating – A Powder Coating Oven

Often the powder coating oven that you select will be the most expensive equipment cost when considering the costs to start powder coating. The two common choices of ovens used to cure powder coating are infrared and convection ovens. Between the two convection cure ovens will be more cost effective but not as fast as curing.  You can learn more about infrared vs convection curing ovens here.  For purposes of estimating the costs of starting powder coating we would consider a standard convection batch process oven for powder coating. A common powder coating oven size that would accommodate a variety of products effectively would be approximately a 8 x 8 x 12.  A new batch convection oven like this will typically cost around $30,000 dollars. Obviously, there are more economical powder coating ovens and the equipment being referenced is industrial powder coating equipment that you would expect to have for years and to hold up to frequent use.

Cost Number 3 to Start Powder Coating – Surface Preparation Equipment (Sandblast Equipment)

Typically prior to powder coating you have to prep your product surface.  What you will do to prep your product surface will vary significantly depending on what your powder coating, if there was anything on the powder-coated surface previously, and if you will pretreat the surface prior to powder coating.  However if you plan to remove existing paint or need to create a profile (which you may to get good adhesion of a powder coating) you will typically want a way to properly prepare the surface of the product prior to powder coating.  This will typically require a sandblast pot or a sandblast cabinet.   Either way for a sandblast pot or cabinet you would potentially spend atleast $4,000 dollars or more.  If your considering a sandblast room there is significant additional expense associated with the sandblast room which you can get rough estimates of by reading this guide here.

Cost Number 4 to Start Powder Coating – Powder Coating Equipment

The fourth expense associated with powder coating is powder coating equipment. To apply powder coating you will typically need a powder coating gun and system to deliver powder coating.  For small batches a great solution can be a Wagner Sprint Powder Coating Unit which includes everything needed to deliver and apply powder coating. For a quality unit like the Wagner unit it will typically cost around $4,250.00. This would provide an effective system that can effectively recoat a previously coated product and efficiently handle things like corner areas.

Cost Number 5 to Start Powder Coating – Metal Washing or Pretreatment

Not all powder coating applications will involve pretreatment of the metal prior to powder coating but sometimes you may be considering adding the ability to properly wash the product and fortify its resistance to rust with a solution like iron phosphate. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways.  If you have to consider a washing process prior to powder coating you can expect a significant investment due to permits, the dip tanks, and similar factors.

Cost Number 6 to Start Powder Coating – Licenses, Powder, and Fees

In many ways the equipment investment for powder coating will be some of the greatest expense associated with starting powder coating.  However you will still have a lot of other potential fees to evaluate.  First will be permitted that can be required by the EPA and other pertinent organizations. Second, you have to have powder which can vary in cost depending on the type of powder and amount of powder you purchase.

Cost Number 7 to Start Powder Coating – Compressed Air

A final expense to consider is compressed air. Compressed air will be used to prepare the powder for spraying by your powder coating unit. Compressed air will also be needed for sandblasting. Compressed air can also be one of the largest expenses you may have. You can often end up spending $25,000 or more on a compressor that will deliver sufficient CFM of air for sandblasting or powder work.  For additional information on how large of a compressor you may need, especially if sandblasting you can review this article on air compressor size needs for sandblasting.

Ultimately whether your starting powder coating to stop from having to out source powder coating or if your considering opening a job shop knowing estimates of the costs to start powder coating can be helpful. This guide provides a general overview of budgetary costs that you may expect to pay to start powder coating.

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